STJ#1025, When Will the Fighting Cease?

I woke up this morning with white women on my mind.

Specifically, white women who exist in a different paradigm than I (also a white woman) do, one that says a woman is made for a man and made to support and please him. A paradigm that says feminism is evil and that suffrage was a terrible thing. A paradigm that says the only reason to use this tool of evil (voting) is to support your husband’s opinion. A paradigm that says abortion is worse than murder, war, and sexual abuse.

It’s hard to wrap our theologically progressive minds around, no less our politically progressive minds. Where they see strict rules and hierarchies, we see many truths and equanimity. Where they see clear lines of right and wrong, we see many shades of gray. Where they see a world order set up the day Adam and Eve entered the garden, we see a world eager to shift and change and grow.

The women who voted for Roy Moore cannot understand for a moment why anyone would support a pro-choice, pro-LGBTQ Democrat, just as we struggle to understand why they would support someone who is a known sexual predator of teenaged girls and who refutes the rule of law in favor of a singular interpretation of a sacred text. They do not understand us, and we don’t understand them.

And yet, if we are, as yesterday’s song suggested, build bridges between our divisions, we must find ways to listen to one another, to be willing to listen to one another.

Which brings me to today’s song, a beautiful, simple, two part canon that is my favorite thing Nick Page has written.

Now I know it was written as “a reaction to the buildup of the invasion of Iraq” but I can’t help bring this song into this moment in our history, when the country is so strongly and deeply divided, so much so that we’re not even getting the same news, no less having the same ideologies. We are fighting with one another in a different kind of civil war (although ideologically connected to the war in 1861-65) in ways that widen the chasm between us. We are not living in peace in this country, and haven’t for a long time. And it’s getting worse.

So what will it take for our love to break boundaries?

When will the fighting cease?
When will we live in peace?
When our love breaks boundaries.

Da pacem Domine,
Do pacem Domine,
in diebus nostris.

(translation: “Give peace, Lord, in our time.”)

And so the work now is to figure out how to do this in ways that don’t demonize but rather hold those who are on the other side of the chasm. It’s hard, this progressive Universalism, and it calls us to do things that seem anathema; it calls us to love those who perpetrate evil – and to figure out what love looks like in those situations; it calls us to work tirelessly in the face of hate; it calls us to extend a hand to those who would bite it. But most of all, it does, as our pithy tshirts say, call us to love the Hell out of this world. The more we do that, the smaller the chasm becomes.

May we always use the tools of love – open hearts, open ears, open minds – to reach out and break boundaries.

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